R&D – distribution

As electricity generation from wind power and other sources with intermittent power generation increases, and as the customer becomes more active in relation to their energy use, there is a growing need for intelligent, flexible and more reliable distribution networks.

This has led to the development of smart grids, which will provide the required system, market and tools to meet demands.

Vattenfall's Research and Development work within smart grids is executed primarily in the following areas: smart metering, substation technology, optimal system operation and asset management.

Smart Grid Gotland – upgrading an existing network

The electricity grid serving the Swedish island of Gotland is undergoing a transformation into a smart grid.

The five-year R&D project aims to develop and implement a large-scale smart grid with a large share of intermittent power production and active customers.

The project will link several R&D results from on-going and previous projects into an integrated smart grid solution showing how an existing network can be efficiently upgraded.

Read more about Smart Grid Gotland

Smart metering

Sweden has rolled out smart meters to all customers with the objective to meet regulatory demands but also to increase the service and transparency for the customer. The deployment of smart meters in Germany is under consideration.

The potential of the smart meter system is great, and we are exploring new options in several R&D projects.The main focus areas of smart metering include:

Monitoring and control of the low voltage network in order to increase the quality for the end customer. This is especially important when locally distributed generation is introduced in the network.Improved business process in the network company Distribution System Operator (DSO). The direct link to the customer opens for increased transparency, more efficient supplier shifts, network planning, and so on.Improving outage management. One of the most important tasks is to deliver a good reliability for the customer. The smart meter system is being developed to minimise the outage times.

Substation technology

The capabilities of the substations will greatly increase using open standards and new, more advanced, protection and control equipment. These capabilities, together with updated primary components, will ensure that the substations are ready for the more dynamic and complex operation conditions that are a result of the integration of large amounts of distributed generation.

The substations will, in the future, be able to cope with a more varying demand from the customer due to new uses of electricity, for example e-mobility, as well as the introduction of more distributed generation.

In this area, several sub-projects are being executed in order to develop a standard for a future substation that will be deployed in Vattenfall's networks.

Optimal operation

Improved energy efficiency and the increased utilisation of the existing assets are important activities.

Dynamic line rating is a typical solution that can both quickly and cost efficiently increase the utilisation of existing assets to the benefit of both the network company and the generator wanting quick access to the network.

Energy efficiency in both the selection of equipment and in the operation of the network is an area where there is an increasingly higher focus in society. The requirements are increasing in this area both on the European level and in the national regulation, which will result in distinct actions for planning, building and operating the grid.

Asset management

Huge investments are needed in the grid over the coming years to meet the challenges from society, customers and regulations. Investment and maintenance must be balanced and activities must be prioritised so that the available budgets are spent in an optimal way.

The work primarily involves the development of the ASP (Asset Strategy Planning) tool being used in both Sweden and Germany to simulate asset management over long time periods. Recently, an extension to the tool has been deployed that can, given target values in terms of reliability and energy supplied, suggest a suitable asset strategy.

Last updated: 2013-10-04 10:28